Bordeaux organic wine
Organic wine in the Bordeaux region
If certified green Bordeaux viticulture remains modest (7%) compared to Alsace (14%) , nothing can slow down the "virtuous" movement that crosses it today.
The agro-biological production method is progressing very rapidly within the Aquitaine vineyard. The Aquitaine Chambers of Agriculture are heavily involved in supporting winegrowers who wish to convert to organic farming and sustainable agriculture . They are committed to promoting a development model that guarantees winegrowers the economic viability of their operations while being environmentally responsible.
A few words about the Bordeaux vineyard
Located in the Aquitaine region of south west France, it is one of the oldest in the world. It offers a beautiful range of wines of all colors: white wines , rosé wines , but also red wines or sparkling wines produced by winegrowers generally established in "château". Wines much more affordable than you might think, produced by estates that have been committed to organic and sustainable viticulture for twenty years. The organic red wines of Bordeaux are world famous.
With more than 110,000 hectares of planted vineyards, Bordeaux is a huge wine region , very famous for its prestigious wines , its classified growths but also very heterogeneous in terms of quality because of its size. Organic Bordeaux wine is of an often incomparable finesse and purity.
Its notoriety, which has made the reputation of French wine and the region best known to consumers, is due to its geographical location, which enabled it to export its production very early on to Northern Europe.
But also to successive classifications in Grands Crus (classified from 1st to 5th, Bourgeois, etc.). The more temperate continental climate, with the proximity of the sea and the variety of a quality terroir, with highly sought-after gravel and sandy alluvial soils.
The 60 appellations are produced mainly from red, powerful and structured grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Cabernet-Franc and even Malbec. Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle enter into the composition of whites, both dry and sweet.
In Bordeaux, the prestigious appellations and regions made for aging and the best wines do not escape tasting enthusiasts: Saint-Émilion, Sainte Foy, Sauternais, Médoc... If the experience tempts you, take the road Bordeaux wines , you will not be disappointed with the trip!
The Bordeaux terroirs are full of vines on which the grapes are born. These grapes come from several varieties, this is what is called the grape varieties. In the Bordeaux vineyard, the best known grape varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for the red grape varieties and Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle for the whites.
This region of a thousand talents has seen the birth on its soil of rare wines , with highly sought-after vintages , winning numerous medals in wine competitions . We remember 2016 well, an excellent vintage for Bordeaux red wines .
Organic, an agronomic approach to agriculture
“Preserving and developing the life and natural fertility of soils, their stability and their biodiversity, preventing and combating soil compaction and erosion and nourishing plants mainly through the soil ecosystem. »
Organic farming puts the “natural” functioning of the soil at the heart of its system . The objective is to obtain a balance between the soil and the plant with plant nutrition coming mainly from the soil.
In organic viticulture , harvesting can be done by hand or using harvesting machines . For large wine estates where the winemaker has many hectares of vines to harvest, it is preferable to use machines so that the grapes retain their good maturity . As soon as possible, hand harvesting is favored because it is less aggressive for the plants and above all, it is a real moment of sharing!
This objective is quite easily achievable in organic viticulture for appellation wines where overall exports are moderate (harvesting) compared to inputs to the soil (refunds linked to the management of inter -row weeds, pruning wood, marc grapes, possibly green manures ).
This presupposes proper functioning of the soil and agronomic precautions in the interventions.
Biodynamic wines: the holy grail for respecting the natural balance
To obtain biodynamic certification , you must first be certified in organic farming (or be in the process of being certified).
There is therefore a "common core" between organic and biodynamic viticulture, but biodynamics goes much further in the sense that it prescribes respect for natural cycles and the life of "agricultural organisms" , i.e. of the life of a wine estate considered as a whole. A kind of organic approach combined with a spiritual approach, a way of life and agriculture in osmosis with nature, a balance of the vine with its environment, first of all close, but also very distant (influence of the stars ).
Biodynamics is a production system inspired by anthroposophy and whose mentor is the famous Rudolf Steiner (Austrian philosopher and agronomist).
It consists broadly of rehabilitating and intensifying the organic life within the vines (numerous micro-organisms present in the soil, the subsoil and on the vines), with the aim of:
- better respect the environment and allow the fairest expression of the terroir in the wines;
- take into account lunar cycles and planetary positions (for their influence on the life and growth of plants);
- improve the quality of the soil and the vines naturally , by preparations made from plant, animal or mineral matter (the preparations) sprayed at homeopathic doses to strengthen the vines or revitalize the soil and thus avoid chemical products ;
- work the soil by plowing to aerate it . The maximum doses of sulphites are lower than for organic viticulture.
Organic Bordeaux wine: commitments made by the Bordeaux châteaux
In 2016, the Bordeaux vineyard is 55% committed to an environmental approach based on collective biological tools to produce quality organic Bordeaux wine that respects the natural balance between the vine and its environment, to preserve biodiversity, to reduce pesticides, but also to maintain economic attractiveness and jobs.
A real plurality of production methods is implemented by independent winegrowers and organic winegrowers : organic, biodynamic, integrated and reasoned viticulture. Even natural wine makes its nest.
Organic and biodynamic: 7000 hectares certified
The Bordeaux region, which is beginning its organic revolution , counted no less than 467 certified “organic” wineries or those in the process of conversion last year, as well as 44 in biodynamics, but the practice is relatively recent. It must be recognized that the Bordeaux rainfall makes the practice difficult without resorting to treatments against diseases.
No offense to its critics, the most famous vineyard in beautiful France is changing, questioning itself. Without denying any of its historical attractions which irritate some, the Bordeaux region listens to criticisms when they are justified, in particular on the prices of illustrious labels and the use of chemistry, opens up to organic trends and, beyond, to legitimate concerns about health and the protection of the planet. Admittedly, organic Bordeaux wine remains modest (7%) compared to Alsace (14%), but nothing will be able to slow down the "green" movement that is going through it today.
Tips for enjoying a Bordeaux wine
Here are the key steps for a good tasting of an organic Bordeaux wine:
- The temperature :
Choosing a wine at the right temperature is the basis of any tasting. A Bordeaux wine served too hot or too cold will not give off all of its aromas, which is why it is important to respect the serving temperature.
- The coat (or color):
Color is an essential element in tasting a wine . It can define many characteristics of the wine such as its age, its taste, its texture...
To observe the color of a wine, you have to tilt the glass (preferably above a white support). We then look at the color on the edge of the wine glass .
The color of the wine comes from the skin of the grape, that is to say that the more the wine has fermented with the skin of the grape, the more it will be colored (or dark). For Château Grand Bordeaux Rouge, the color indicates the age of the wine . Indeed, a young organic red Bordeaux wine will have a purplish red color. Conversely, an organic Bordeaux red or Superior red old wine will have an orange-red color.
- The nose (or the smell):
To smell a wine it is important to aerate it by stirring it in the glass. This will allow to release all its aromas and to better understand it. There are different bases of scents with flowers, fruits, wood, etc.
At the tasting:
- Bordeaux Blanc is a rather dry wine, characterized by a pale green color, floral smells and a fresh taste with sometimes a hint of acidity.
- Sauternes is appreciated for its gentle freshness, its beautiful smoothness and its exceptional persistence in the mouth.
It is characterized by serious notes of almond, quince, citrus, sloe, apricot, peach. On the palate: notes of candied and roasted honey, beeswax, notes of yellow white fruits and flavors of white flowers. On the palate, savor the richness, smoothness and particular power of this wine.
The Bordeaux Supérieur Blanc is a mellow wine, which is defined by a golden and shiny "robe" ( color of a wine ). It has many different scents such as fruits, flowers or honey. Its taste is often mild and sweet.
- Bordeaux Rouge is a dark red wine with shades of purple or orange depending on its age. This wine is particularly recognizable thanks to its fruity aromas and especially for its slight hint of tannin (deposit found in the skin of the grape).
Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge is a dark red wine with shades of purple or orange like Bordeaux Rouge. There are often woody aromas and a taste of very ripe fruit such as blackcurrant.
- Bordeaux Rosé is a fresh wine, pale pink in color, with fruity and floral aromas. There is often a fruity, sometimes acidic taste reminiscent of citrus fruits.
- The Saint Emilion-Grand Cru is easily identified by its brilliant ruby color with garnet reflections in their youth with aromas of small red fruits. On the palate, the Saint-Emilion grands crus develop great aromatic richness. They are well-structured and full-bodied. The tannins are present.
Why taste an organic Bordeaux wine
In Bordeaux, wine is a self-respecting drink, we take the time to appreciate it and understand its flavors. Doing good is also doing good for your body and the planet and that's why organic Bordeaux wine has a particularly delicious flavor.
Produced with organic grapes and vinified with respect for this sweet beverage, organic Bordeaux wine contains fewer sulphites, fewer inputs that modify its original taste and contains much more passion and authenticity! Why distort with chemical inputs the good woody , fruity , floral and vegetal taste of a good Bordeaux wine that just wants to be organic?
Food and wine pairings
What is a tasting without a little accompaniment? At Oé we are greedy and we are sure that you are too! Good red wine and good white wine from Bordeaux deserve to be associated with local products.
In this oceanic region, seafood dishes are in the spotlight. Fish, seafood, shellfish, in Bordeaux everything is allowed and everything is good. Of course, this region can also count on local products such as the famous Bazas beef or the Médoc granary. Don't forget to treat yourself to dessert with the essential and gourmet Bordeaux canelés which, accompanied by a good soft or sweet drink, are a real treat!